28 Life Lessons Learned

I had good intentions to publish this blog post on August 4 which was my 28th birthday. Fast forward two weeks, only to realize that I had forgotten to edit it. Now I am finally getting around to publishing the damn thing. 5+ hours later, my back aches, my feet hurt, and I am surprised that nobody has kicked me out of the food court where I am mooching off of A&W’s WiFi. My husband is meeting clients today so I really have no excuses while I wait for him downtown.

It’s the Thought that Counts!

Overall, my birthday was OK. Nothing too eventful happened unless travelling 7+ hours counts as an exciting trip. Even tough I only flew across Canada, there were many stops along the way which extended the trip. Since moving out west, flying has become the norm for me so my birthday was just an ordinary day. To celebrate my very belated birthday, I wanted to share with you 28 things that I learned in 28 years. This list is in no particular order since I wrote the outline while waiting in the airport, but each item on the list has shaped me into the person I am today.

28 Life Lessons Learned in 28 Years

1. Life is unfair. Get used to it. #tough-love  

2. Insomnia is real and can be really debilitating if you let it rule your life. 

3. Cats and dogs make fantastic friends. Lizards….not so much. You can’t cuddle with a lizard but they make great conversation starters when forced to awkwardly engage with people.

4. And you fall, and you crawl, and you break many times over. Avril Lavigne got it right. #complicated

5. Life isn’t static. It’s constantly changing, so it’s better to change along with it than to resist change.

6. Being uncomfortable is a GOOD THING. You need to step outside of your comfort zone in order for real growth to happen. And you’ll be one step closer towards reaching your goals.

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All credit goes to Sarah Andersen → Sarah’s Scribbles

7. Quality over quantity. The number of likes and followers does not matter in the grand scheme of things. Social media is also quite meaningless unless you’re trying to brand yourself or provide value to people. Blogging provides tons of value IMO and it took me several years to discover that I really enjoy writing for an audience.

8. Minimalism is a great concept and we can all benefit by learning how to live with less stuff. If you would like to learn more about how minimalism has positively impacted my life, you can read about it here.

“The secret to happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” —Socrates

9. Don’t treat your body like a dumpster. Respect yourself by being kind to your body. 

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10. Learn to accept and make peace with yourself because nobody else can do that for you.

11. You don’t need friends to be happy and being extremely introverted is not a flaw in your character. 

12. Most people will lie to you or let you down, including family. Be prepared for friends to disappoint you as well. If anything, lower your expectations to live a happier life.

13. There is truth to meditation. We should learn to embrace this ancient practice. 

14. I am scared of aging and looking my age. I really don’t want to live to be 90+ years old. Genetics suggest that I will live well into my 90’s. A vivid dream I had when I was a little kid suggests that I will live to be 64 years old.

15. Failing at something does not make YOU a failure. I still haven’t made peace with my failures yet, since my recent experience with failure is still raw and painful.

16. Not everyone is going to like you no matter how hard you try to please them.

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17. There is truth to mindfulness and finding greater consciousness. Make it your ultimate goal to aim for self-actualization by referring to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. At one point, Maslow’s Pyramid was the background image on my desktop. Can you tell that I like psychology? 🙊

18. After all these years, The Amazing Race is STILL my favourite reality TV show. I watch the Canadian version as well even though it’s not as good as the original series. I don’t keep up with the latest TV shows on Netflix because TV is a HUGE time waster, but I will make a scene if I miss out on watching “The Great Race.”

19. Strong negative emotions are meant to protect you, that is, if you are still living in the stone age. 

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You can find my latest Instagram stories @serene_hilz

20. There is no need for cookbooks as long as you have an internet connection. You can find everything you need online for FREE! I enjoy learning how to make delicious recipes that are kinder to my body, since I am intolerant to white flour, dairy, and refined sugar.

21. Sugar is highly addictive and should be considered a drug. It’s impossible to quit. I even published a post about how to give up sugar, and even I cannot follow my own advice. Hypocritical of me, eh?

22. You can grow bean sprouts in a jar. Bean sprouts are not only cheap, but they’re also nutritious. You can find affordable jars at your local dollar store. You don’t need a special lid or anything fancy to grow bean sprouts. I used a tutorial from YouTube to grow beansprouts. The whole process is very easy and straight-forward.

23. If you don’t have dental insurance in Canada or the US, do yourself a favor and get dental insurance. Since the problem wasn’t resolved years ago, I’ll have to spend thousands of dollars to pay for orthodontic treatment and jaw surgery. I have no choice but to go back to nursing school and face that beast. These “luxuries” in life cost $$$.

24. I don’t drink alcohol and I don’t smoke. Marijuana recently became legal in Canada but I still have no desire to smoke weed. The cannabis culture does not appeal to me and actually disgusts me. NO THANKS. 👎

25. It is OK to spend money on things that bring you joy. Cats, unicorns, steeped tea etc. Cats bring me joy so we adopted a kitty in April 2019. Steeped Tea from Tim Horton’s also brings me joy. I stopped buying steeped tea in April 2019 to save some pocket change but later decided that the benefits of saving money did not outweigh the enjoyment I get from drinking my favourite beverage.

26. Have a growth mentality instead of a shrinking mentality. Do not settle for less than you deserve in life. Always look for opportunities for growth, whether that means aiming for financial security or finding a career that will sustain you. My husband deserves credit for teaching me this life lesson.

27. I believe that there is a soulmate for every person on this planet. Ladies, if you are still single, consider this as a plausible reason:

“Someday my Prince Charming will come. Mine just took a wrong, got lost, and is too stubborn to ask for directions.” —Unknown

28. It is OK to be yourself even if people don’t always get you. For example, I am hypersensitive to noise and a little neurotic at times. My automatic response to loud noise is to cover my ears and cry. I have cried at a loud football game, I have cried at a loud pub full of drunk people when I was 3 years old and when I was 23 years old. Oh there ain’t no other way because baby, I was born this way!

img_2937_19727604261_o.jpgWell, there you have it. I could keep going but I am feeling 28 right now. Which life lesson(s) did you relate to the most? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below ↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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79 thoughts on “28 Life Lessons Learned

  1. Robin says:

    Happy Birthday! I’m way past 28, although that was a monumental year in my life. Onto your post: When I don’t have expectations of other people, then they can’t disappoint me. It is one way to have peace of mind. Practicing mindfulness is good for me. I also love psychology. It was once my major in college. I don’t drink. Smoking pot is not legal in my state, but I’d pass on it if it was. I cannot tolerate loud noises, crunching noises, slurping noises, eating utensils touching teeth, and the list goes on. I don’t cry, but I usually cover my ears or leave the room. I like The Amazing Race, but Survivor is my favorite TV show.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Thank you for the birthday wishes, Robin! 😇 I agree with you; mindfulness can be so beneficial and therapeutic. The university taught us how to practice mindfulness and it was integrated into the nursing curriculum. I was like, “huh, I learned about mindfulness from a philosophy podcast I listen to!” Psychology is a great subject and psych was usually my elective of choice. That’s great that we share these things in common. Survivor I haven’t watched. Thanks for reading and commenting! 😊💕

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Michelle says:

    I am still learning the lesson of living a minimalist lifestyle and being okay with spending money on things that bring me joy.

    I have learned to be okay with being an introvert. I have been told it can be bad. I watched a video on youtube on a psychology channel that showed the benefits of being an introvert. It reminded me that I have many great qualities still.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Hi Michelle! There is a fine balance between owning only the essentials and owning things that bring joy that may or not be essentials. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to live like a minimalist, which is what minimalism unique. 😃 What’s interesting is that someone may collect things like books and still live minimally, while someone else may not collect things at all but still consume Starbucks coffee everyday for example. As a kid, I thought being an introvert was a bad thing but as an adult, I am content with it. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of us bloggers are introverts. Thank you for reading and commenting, Michelle. 😊💕

      Liked by 1 person

  3. stevescountry says:

    Hey, not bad Hilary! Although I might disagree on a couple points. Minimalism, don’t think I could handle that one by myself.🤔🙄 Looking at a nearly empty apartment through 7 long months of winter would definitely make me flip!🤪😂A soulmate for everyone? Hmm, mine got lost in a jungle somewhere and died.😲🙄I don’t have a chance on that one.😂Oh well, have a great evening!😃😺

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Hi Steve! Thank you for stopping by and visiting Hilary’s part of the country! hahaha 😂 What?? We have different opinions?? I mean, you can agree with me or you can be wrong. Just kidding. 😂😹 I love it when people have different views about life. Minimalism is an interesting concept but I am by no means a minimalist (In my head, I think I am but reality says otherwise). In theory, it’s a great concept and I learned a lot about it. In practice, it’s very difficult to implement.

      Yes, I do believe that there is a soulmate for everyone, or a handful of potential partners that we are compatible with. I am sorry you feel that way Steve, and that is very depressing to think about. I hope she didn’t die!! How sad. 😭😭 There is hope for everyone and I truly believe that. I am sending some positive vibes your way. Thank you so much for commenting, Steve! 😊💖

      Liked by 1 person

      • stevescountry says:

        Well, for me, I want to downsize a lot but it probably wouldn’t really qualify for minimalist. I know someone who did go that way and wow, what a difference. I don’t think I could cut back that much!
        No, didn’t die, still around and we are talking again which is good. So, who knows? Thanks so much Hilary, hope you are having a great day!!😃😺 I finally made over 500 followers today so I’m jumping!!🤸‍♂️🤸‍♂️🥳🎆🎈😀😸

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hilary Tan says:

        My husband is an anti-minimalist so I understand the struggle.😂 More things come into our house than leave the house so I find it challenging to tackle the mess. My hobbies include things that don’t take up space, like blogging and pen-palling! That’s great that you two are talking again. Wonderful news. I wish you the very best, Steve. 🙏🏻✨

        Yesterday we were in the states so I got to see Idaho and Washington. ⛰🌲🌲Today we are driving back to Calgary. We stopped at Wendy’s for lunch and I’m mooching off of their WiFi right now. I try to connect to hotspots whenever possible because data is limited and last month I accidentally used all of my data. 😓

        Liked by 1 person

      • stevescountry says:

        A few years ago I tried that, went to Vancouver, then down through Washington, Idaho and up to Calgary and back home. It was a nice trip. Yep, good to tap into those hotspots whenever possible! Hope you had a great trip, nice to get away like that.😃😺

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hilary Tan says:

        Also, HUGE CONGRATS on reaching 500 followers!! 😊💕 That’s amazing and your blog is thriving. It is no mistake you reached this milestone – your blog is unique and one of a kind, and your kindness shows. I’m very happy for you and Muffin. 🎉🎂 🎈🎈🐈

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Vihani says:

    Happy birthday Hilary!! A great list of lessons! Quotation from Socrates, “The secret to happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” is my favorite part of this article. Keep growing and learning more and more about life and yourself! Keep smiling 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Hi Vihani! Thank you so much for the birthday wishes 💕Also, thank you for commenting! Gotta love Socrates quotes which are so deep and profound, yet so simple and straightforward. Growth is necessary in order for us to live happy lives. That’s good advice to keep smiling! 🙂 In real life, people often tell me that I look grumpy 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. esoterica says:

    Happy birthday!! These are all such wonderful tips and realizations! What I love is nearly every point hinges on the idea of taking responsibility for yourself and your life–discovering ways to live a healthy life, optimize mental energy, and to find joy everyday. Beautiful! I hope you had a special day and that the year to come is your best yet!! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Thank you so much for the birthday wishes and encouragement! Receiving these lovely comments was the best gift ever 🙏🏻💕 2019 has been a big year for personal reflection after dealing with failure and disappointment. I blamed myself for letting myself and my family down. Luckily, my husband has been super supportive in my healing process and I’ve been going to CBT therapy. I learned through trial and error just how interconnected the mind and body really are. One cannot thrive without the other. Now I’m getting to the root of the issue and healing from the inside out. 🧘‍♀️🌱

      Liked by 1 person

  6. popsiclesociety says:

    I would say that at 28 years old, you’ve learned more lessons than some people at 90 years old! Yes, life is unfair! I guess I use to say this very often, more often than I would like it but no choice, as you said we just need to get used to it.
    Cats and dogs are really awesome friends! Lizard, as you know Singapore has plenty but I never tried to have a conversation with them as I’m too scared 🙂
    Yes, our life is changing constantly, we have ups and we have downs, important is to always get up and continue our journey! With every step we are closer to our dreams!
    Happy Birthday Hilary! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Thank you for your kind words and birthday wishes, Ribana ♥️ I’ve always felt like an old person trapped inside of a young person’s body so that explains a lot 😂 Some things we have no control over in life, like which family we are born into or which country we live in. In my mind I wish reality was different but there is no point denying or resisting reality. It is what it is.

      Agreed, there will always be downs when there are ups, and ups when there are downs. Learning how to keep going takes a lot of inner strength and determination. I believe that letting go of the “victim mentality” is a good first step towards healing these emotional wounds. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. It’s always a pleasure talking to you. 🌸🌸🌸

      Like

    • Hilary Tan says:

      “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable”. I don’t remember who said that quote. It’s easier to stay in the same place where it’s safe and comfy. However, we will never know what we are truly capable of if we don’t step outside of our comfort zones. I’m happy that #5 really resonated with you! Thank you for reading and commenting 😊💕

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hilary Tan says:

        P.S. Just realized I was commenting on #6 but they are related in many ways. 😂 I don’t think anyone likes change but it’s necessary for personal growth.

        Like

  7. PoojaG says:

    Really interesting post I think I relate with most of them especially the one where you said everyone will let you down even friends and family. The older I get the more I can relate to that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      I’m happy that these points resonated with you, Pooja! 😊 Another thing people can’t seem to follow through with are promises (empty promises). What’s so difficult about keeping a promise? And if you can’t keep it, what’s so difficult about telling the other person? Quite sure it’s common sense, manners, and human decency, which is something people seem to have forgotten, including friends and family. And some people just don’t care regardless. 🤷‍♀️

      Honestly, I’ve stopped trying to please these people because there’s no point. I will talk to them but I’m not going out of my way for them anymore unless it’s necessary. Spend energy on the people who give back, rather than those who take take take.

      Liked by 1 person

      • PoojaG says:

        Yeah I have noticed that too. A lot of people will tell you whatever you want to hear but the truth is very few of them actually keep their word and it’s really disappointing. I think a lot of people just don’t care and some people just like to exaggerate but aren’t actually there when you need them. I was such a people pleaser but it got me hurt a lot of times so now I’m more cautious and only help people who are there for me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hilary Tan says:

        It took me 28 years to come to this realization. At least you saw your people pleasing tendencies and are consciously aware of it! By no means do you need to please them anymore. ❤ People will naturally gravitate towards you if they are truly meant to be in your life. It’s a good thing that you are cautious of who has your best interests at heart and who doesn’t. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • PoojaG says:

        Yeah I’m glad I found out early on because my mum was like that too and she told me she spent so much time helping people who didn’t deserve it. Know I just leave it up to the universe- if people are meant to be in your life they’ll find you.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. wifeblah says:

    Belated Happy 28th Birthday Hilary.. First of all I would like to let you know that I admire you for being an awesome person and an amazing blogger. You write your heart out, and I can totally relate.

    1. Life is unfair. Get used to it. #tough-love – SO TRUE! Reality bites.

    6. Being uncomfortable is a GOOD THING – SOOOOO True. I love the photo in your content where it says “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” That’s the thing with me, every time I get used to it, I need to move on and find another challenge. (not with relationship okay), mostly at work. 🙂

    Quality over quantity – I can totally relate over this. You are one of the high quality bloggers here 🙂

    Treat your body as a temple – SO TRUE, before it’s too late.

    Minimalism – YES ON THIS. I don’t want much things that I won’t be able to use at all. Even at home I don’t like things that has no use. For sure they will only collect dust.

    I totally agree that you don’t need friends to be happy. Me and my husband are introverts.

    It’ okay to spend on things that makes you happy. – SURE! I don’t shop a lot, but if something can really makes me happy I am willing to spend. 🙂 Some girls love branded bags, I love fish tanks equipment’s and plants lol.

    Sugar is addicting. LOL of course, I am an addict. I can stay all day eating ice cream haha.

    Thank you for this engaging content, I really love it. You are an inspiration. PS: I grew beans sprout in a PikNik small can when I was 10 years old. lol

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Hi Wifeblah! Thank you SO MUCH for your kind words and positive feedback. Reading your comment put a big smile on my face! I never thought of myself as being an amazing blogger before and honestly, my secret to writing is keeping things raw, real, and genuine. I am so happy that you could relate to so many of these life lessons, including the very random bean sprout DIY ❤

      On a more serious note, I am praying that you and your family are safe from Hurricane Dorian. I cannot even imagine how scary it is being in your situation, anticipating the aftermath of the storm, while having to put on a brave face for your family and for the hurricane victims. I really admire how strong and brave you are. Please stay safe! 🙏💕

      Liked by 1 person

      • wifeblah says:

        Thank you so much, we are all good here. The hurricane changed its path and it gets weaker. In the Philippines where I grew up, hurricane is pretty common. We get atleast 8 hurricane per year. When I was a kid, it’s not much of a worry. But now, as a grown up and a homeowner – I worried for our lives and for my house. 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hilary Tan says:

        What matters most is that you and your loved ones are safe. 🙏🏻💕 I don’t follow the news much so I’m not up to date on what’s going on, but I’m grateful that the hurricane didn’t wreck havoc in your area. Even though I’ve never actually been in a hurricane before, I can imagine that dealing with natural disasters is very stressful! 😞

        Liked by 1 person

  9. amymayj says:

    Happy belated birthday! I really loved reading this, there’s some great lessons here. I think my favourite has to be number 15 – like yourself, my failures are still something I need to make peace with, but it’s absolutely true that just because you fail at something it doesn’t mean you’re a failure! xx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Thank you so much for the birthday wishes, Amy! I’m happy that you enjoyed reading this blog post. Yes, #15 is definitely a tough one to come to terms with, especially when we let ourselves down. Sometimes, all we can do is take things day by day. 🙏🏻🌸

      Liked by 1 person

  10. buddy71 says:

    A very good post and there are only a couple of things that we don’t match. But nothing that would be deal breakers. Lol
    Happy Birthday!!
    I also have possible good age genetics and could live into my 90s. But quality of life is more important to me than longevity.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      I am curious to know which ones you disagree with? It’s interesting when people have different opinions. Hmm… I thought I replied to your comment last week. Maybe it didn’t send. Sometimes I have problems with the WiFi connection. 🤔

      I agree with you. Quality of life is more important than longevity. Thank you for reading, and have a good evening! 🌙😴

      Liked by 1 person

      • buddy71 says:

        #18. the reality shows I watched were ok at the start, but after a couple of seasons they were just the same thing. #24, about marijuana. I think it has its use and if we treat it like alcohol, tax the crap out of it, the money could be spent on needed projects like mental health facilities, etc. #27. I see this as there could be many “soulmates” since there are many countries and the probability of only one seems limiting. I feel we, overall, limit ourselves and are much too narrow in our search and or ideals of who we want.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hilary Tan says:

        You have some really good points, Buddy71 and I cannot argue with you there (er, more like a friendly debate). #18 Yes, reality shows do get repetitive but I find myself picking sides or teams, and it gets my adrenaline up. Usually one or two seasons is enough before I need a break from reality TV shows. #24 I agree that mental health facilities are needed and that there should be more focus on mental health. I’m just not sure if weed is a solution…. it’s more likely a coping mechanism for many people, and may be masking underlying issues. I read somewhere that weed can increase anxiety in people, which isn’t good for anxiety sufferers. #27 To clarify, I like to think of 7 soulmates (one for each continent). 😂 Just kidding. I do think that there’s a match for everyone, and maybe matchmaker sites are onto something. I mean, my husband and I were a 48% match online so who’s to say. 🤷‍♀️

        Thank you for your insights. I enjoyed reading them. 😀

        Like

  11. ciccolady says:

    Good evening lovely Hilary, yes people can hurt us even if they are family, we have to understand, that nothing is perfect.
    Minimalism is great way to live, less you have, less you need to take of and is much easier to find things at home❤️

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Hi Ilona, I think this is the comment you were referring to right? Thank you for reading and commenting on this blog post! 😇

      Ah, I’ve noticed that even the people who we are supposed to trust the most will probably hurt us at some point. The trick is learning to forgive and also establishing boundaries with them. I learned that sometimes the only person I can truly rely on is myself. You remind me of myself because you are also very independent and self-aware 💜 Minimalism is a great concept – less stuff, less chaos, simplified life. We have a tiny apartment so there’s not a lot of room to collect a lot of stuff. Keeping what brings you joy and eliminating what doesn’t helps too 💜

      Like

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